A Basketball Chronicle

October 31, 2010

Bent over the bouncing basketball Stef turned to look at Mara who started to laugh said “God, you can be a bitch.”

Stef laughed, straighten her body and fired a shot from the free throw line, the ball went swish.

“What’s that three hundred games to zero” Mara said falling into Stef’s arms.

“Close, actually it’s six” she said.

Standing together, dripping perspiration they celebrated another game of one on one, their Tuesday afternooner.  A commitment made when they retired from the university leagues to make sure they could always experience this together, the fun of the game and each other.

As they toweled down from their showers Mara said “You seemed a bit up tempo today. Anything you would like to discuss.”

“Ah, the ever observant psychologist, do I seem a bit off” Stef replied.

“Like a train looking for a place to wreck itself” Mara said.

Stef paused, pushed back her hair and said “A few months ago, in Sears of all places I thought I could feel Kim. It seemed so odd and so surreal, I couldn’t see her, but somewhere nearby, she watched. Since then the sensation has repeated itself several times.”

“And I sensed a need, a needing of me or from me. At the same time a detachment from the need or whatever, okay, I’m nuts, right” Stef said.

Turning away Mara didn’t respond. The statement by itself startled her then again, everything about Kim startled her. More startling, she had no problem with Stef’s emotions sensing Kim, she always could.

Looking at the floor Mara said “She doesn’t go away that Kimmy of ours. You’re right, I felt her to, three times at last count. ”

Stef reached out and took Mara’s hand “Maybe she’s just lonely”

“I don’t think so Stef, Kim wants something, she always wants something” Mara said.

“What could she want from us” Stef asked.

“You” Mara said.


“Yes, you…you have the book’s don’t you” Mara said.

Now came Stef’s moment to turn away, ponder and tell the truth “Yes, but I haven’t read them, I put them away that day, they’re still there.”

“It’s more than the books Stef, I was there remember, she asked me too, but she wanted you. I am Mara the good; you are Stef the giant, her private wrecking crew. When we played Victoria in the finals I watched her watch you, she did that just to see what you could do mad.

“Those referees let a lot go but when you hit that Saunders girl, they watched and you were gone. You broke her sternum, you were vicious. The sheer glee in her eyes told me she had infected you with one of those spells. She wants that or needs that” Mara said.

“Mara, I was seventeen and had spent the summer pitching bales on the farm. I was big then, not now.”

“Stef, I love playing basketball with you, however, I’m growing old and slow, and you’re not. With me, you’re this gentle giant always close, not to beat me but to make sure I don’t fall, you catch me and I am safe. But within you is this lioness holding untapped reservoirs of power.”

“I’m your doctor Stef, there are no other women like you, period. You’re almost fifty four, you barely look thirty four and you play like you’re twenty four, and I believe that is what she wants” Mara said.

“Shit” she said.


the witch’s malice coming September, 2013


David Hutchison, Writer